Researchers have determined that the fossils of an extinct species from the Triassic Period are the long-missing link that connects Kermit the Frog’s amphibian brethren to wormlike creatures with a backbone and two rows of sharp teeth.
Named Chinlestegophis jenkinsi, the newfound fossil is the oldest relative of the most mysterious group of amphibians: caecilians. Today, these limbless, colorful serpentine carnivores live underground and range in size from 6 inches to 5 feet.
“Our textbook-changing discovery will require paleontologists to re-evaluate the timing of the origin of modern amphibian groups and how they evolved,” said Adam Huttenlocker, senior author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Anatomical Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.Paper. (paywall) – Jason D. Pardo, Bryan J. Small, and Adam K. Huttenlocker. Stem caecilian from the Triassic of Colorado sheds light on the origins of Lissamphibia. PNAS, June 2017 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1706752114More.
Change textbooks? But you’d have to get Darwin blither out first. The blither folk will demand loyalty beyond evidence. Or else you risk the end of science rent-a-riot in your own neighbourhood.
See also: What the fossils told us in their own words